Hi-res M1A1 weapons

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Hi-res M1A1 weapons

Post Apr 6th '13, 06:29

As those reading this who have been to simplici7y probably know, I have been working on enhanced weapon graphics for Marathon 1, and would like feedback, suggestions, and critiques from people in order to make the plugin more viable for use. And less offensive to the eyes ;)

I would like to note right away that it was not intended to be perfectly true to the originals (hand-drawn things are quite difficult for me to make good 3d replications of) and I would like to change the aesthetics of the weapons to suit a more functional looking style, while still keeping in the same visual theme.

I intend over time to include (pin? upload? whatever that word is...) the new sprites here, to facilitate a quicker review process, anyone is welcome to use them for whatever they want, and if I can, I will upload the 3d models here, if someone wants them for some reason (I hope said hypothetical person likes blender3d, 'cause that is what I use).

Anyway, you may expect updates to this thread over the next while or so.
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 6th '13, 10:55

Here go my thoughts:
I think this the thing that will take this package to the next level.
This is a poor example (sorry for ruining your pistol), but I hope this sketch shows you what I mean.
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Post Apr 6th '13, 19:55

I was hesitant to make it too much more polished looking, as that wouldn't fit with the rugged and tarnished look of one's surroundings, but I have a bit.
I've also added a few more details to the model.

How does this look? Try viewing it against a dark background like you would see in the game.
pistol reload beta.png
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 7th '13, 03:51

Much better pistol! [MUp]

As in the review I made on Simplic7y, the graphics for the alien gun and the napalm take up way too much of the player's view. The machine gun graphic is also a bit large. For a person like me, HD weapon graphics are cool, but it sort of defeats the purpose if they obscure the other graphics of the game (this was a big reason why I did the work on the HUDs in the first place). Take care of this problem, and you'll go a long way towards making something pretty decent.
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Post Apr 7th '13, 05:13

Ok, I'll get address that right away, re-sizing the sprites should be pretty easy.

On that note, do you think that any other weapons beside the pistol needed more adjustment, such as the fusion gun? It seems kind of flat and I was thinking of completely re-doing the model.

Thanks for providing advice.
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 7th '13, 09:18

Yes this is in the right direction. It looks better, but it does not look complete. More work to do ;-)
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Post Apr 8th '13, 07:49

Ok, here is my next attempt, I've messed around with the model a bit more and refined the material some.

Here are two frames:
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 18th '13, 02:55

I've made many changes to the plugin and uploaded it to simplicity:
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 20th '13, 07:38

I see potential here, especially with the improvement from your initial release, so I'm going to critique the latest version. Take any criticism as a compliment. I hope you continue to improve these!

The main thing I'm noticing is the lack of structure in the gauntlets. What you've got going on looks more like a sleeve than armor. Take a close look at the original frames and notice the plate of armor on the back of his hand, and the forearm armor which also includes a plate on the dorsal side. Consider the benefit of putting more work into this one aspect -- nearly all of the frames would improve for almost every weapon.

More structural definition in the hands would help too, but I see the armor as a higher priority as it's more consistently visible.

And I can't say I'm a fan of the snake-scale texture of the armor.

Also, most of your frames don't extend far enough below the picture plane (the original graphics occasionally suffer from this same shortcoming -- no pun). One way to test this is to do all of the following at the same time while in game:
  • Look all the way down
  • Run forward
  • Press one of the turn keys
  • Fire
If the bottom of your frames don't show, you're good to go.

  • I like the animation, it's a fiercer motion compared to the originals.
  • One thing that's off is that he's punching upward (which would be great if this were a game about a little kid fighting bullies).
  • The idle posture of the fists could be slightly tweaked. With both of them out, it looks more like he's pretending to be a gunner on the Millennium Falcon rather than putting his dukes up. I suggest bending the elbows just a tad so we see a bit more of the tops of his fists.
  • I realize you're doing some redesigning, but the brace on your brass knuckles is much rounder than the original. I do think flatter is more functional in this case.

  • When idle, the gun is pointed slightly upward rather than straight ahead.
  • The reloading frame should include the hand slapping the clip into the gun.
  • The glass in the scope is looking too much like a mirror and not enough like glass. I suspect darkening it and increasing the reflectivity would help.
  • The forestock should be boxier, bulkier, and brown. Right now it's looking a little too Marathon 2-ish.

Fusion Gun
  • This one's actually working really well. The perspective and direction of the weapon all seem perfect.
  • What isn't working are the three lights on the back of the gun. You have them plopped on the outside like cherry toppings, rather than setting them into the surface of the gun. The lights should have slight depressions around them, and shouldn't protrude past the surface of the surrounding area.
  • If I were doing this, I'd try having the three red lights turn on intermittently when it's being charged, a la M2.

Assault Rifle
  • Looking pretty good here, although I recommend mimicking the tilt present in the original reloading frames. You might even consider showing the hand doing the reloading if you want to go the extra mile (for that I would use the M2 frames as reference).

Rocket Launcher
  • I like the weapon itself for the most part, but the perspective and posture of the arm is wrong. It's stretched too far out there, and it's too stiff and too straight. And the angle suggests his right arm is originating from the left side of his chest, rather than his right shoulder.
  • The negative space in between his arm and the weapon seems too wide a gap to me.

  • Looking pretty good, although notice how the needle facing us should wipe to the right when the trigger is pulled -- right now it's just stationary. If you can add extra frames, having the needle wobble slightly (as if it's at maximum pressure) might be a nice touch.
  • When firing, the tilt should definitely be back towards us and not at all from side to side. Yours is almost rocking like a boat (rapidly tap the trigger in game if you don't see what I mean).

Alien Weapon
  • Missing frames for reloading (requires cheating, I think), otherwise looks pretty good.
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Ares Ex Machina

Post Apr 20th '13, 21:02

Since the release, I have been noticing some of those same issues (the rocket launcher in particular bugs me)

-For the fists, many of the problems stem from me not having much practice with hands and arms, so I will see what I can do.

-I hadn't noticed the cropping problem pistol until you pointed it out, I will fix that immediately, the viewing angle should be quick to fix.

By the way, what part is the fore-stock? Is it the bit just ahead of the trigger area?

-Making the areas bordering the lights on the fusion gun should be easy enough, but making them blink would be rather difficult as all of the charging frames use the same bitmap, unlike in M2. I have no idea how to use shapes patches to add extra images.

-Changing the current tilt to the original one should also be easy. However the reloading frames all use the same bitmap (like the fusion charging frames) so showing a hand reloading would need the aforementioned shape patch knowledge that I lack.

-Like the fists, the arm holding the launcher is merely a matter of my inexperience with limbs, so that will take time and practice.

- The rocking back and forth seems to be a problem with the horizontal offset, quick to correct.
the needle wobbling is yet thing that requires extra bitmaps and frames (shapes patches) so any info on how to implement them in with shapefusion would be very helpful.

- For the alien gun, the lack of a reload animation was just caused me being lazy and not expecting that it would be needed. adding one will in will be relatively quick (although a slightly lower priority)

Once again, any help with using shape patches would be most welcome.

...time to start revising [MGrin]
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 22nd '13, 00:24

General Tacticus wrote:-For the fists, many of the problems stem from me not having much practice with hands and arms, so I will see what I can do.

A common mistake with hands is to make everything curved or rounded, and to understate or ignore the hard edges and straight surfaces. Strive for more angular geometry (on the back of the hand in particular) to emphasize subcutaneous bony landmarks.

Study your own hand closely and you'll see subtle changes in angle and direction on the various forms. Discern the big basic forms first, then break it down to smaller forms.

Study the shapes of your fingers and knuckles from various angles, including head-on; try to discern what shape the cross section would be. Is it circular? Maybe at first glance, but look harder and you'll see subtle changes in angle. As a basic shape, an extended finger is much more an elongated box than it is a cylinder (although fingertips are generally rounder, and female fingers are more cylindrical overall).

General Tacticus wrote:By the way, what part is the fore-stock?

Wikipedia can say it better than I can:
"In firearms, the forearm (also known as handguard or forestock) is a section of the weapon between the receiver and the muzzle. It is used to hold the firearm steady and is usually made out of wood or composite material."
"Some forearms are equipped with heat shields to protect the user from heat radiating from the barrel when the weapon is fired."

Part of what you did to change the original design was shrink the forestock and change its color, which to me makes it too close to the Marathon 2 magnum.

General Tacticus wrote:-Like the fists, the arm holding the launcher is merely a matter of my inexperience with limbs, so that will take time and practice.

Pretend you're holding a Marathon rocket launcher. You're going to feel ridiculous doing it, but trust me -- it's the best thing you can do to get this right. Look at your arms. What angles are they at? Copy what you see.

As for adding in extra frames for some of the other weapons, I would recommend saving that for last. Considering the stage you're at now, I would prioritize as follows:
  1. Improve the structure of the gauntlets.
  2. Improve the modeling and posture of the hands and fingers.
  3. Improve the modeling and posture of the weapons.
  4. Add in extra frames.

Keep up the good work!
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Ares Ex Machina

Post Apr 24th '13, 18:32

I advise against using shapes patches to change the sequences for weapons-in-hand. The weapon timing is based off them, so using a different set of shapes can cause net games to go out of sync!

Changing the bitmaps with shapes patches should be OK.
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Post Apr 24th '13, 23:09

The weapon timing is based off them, so using a different set of shapes can cause net games to go out of sync!

Oh, hadn't thought of that...

Would it matter very much provided the sequnces are the same length of time? Like doubleing the frame count but also doubling the frame rate?

I have tried fooling around with shape patches a bit, but haven't gotten them to work right anyway, so that issue will probably only be relevant once I figure them out.

- I have been working on a new set of hands for the sprites; however progress is slow with that, so I don't have anything to show yet.
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 25th '13, 12:23

General Tacticus wrote:Would it matter very much provided the sequnces are the same length of time? Like doubleing the frame count but also doubling the frame rate?

That might be OK, I haven't checked in detail. You'd have to halve the ticks per frame while doubling the frame count, which might not be an issue in M1A1. When we switch over to the real Marathon shapes, the pistol and fist (for example) use 3 ticks per frame and 3 frames per view, so that won't work. Maybe you could do 1/9 instead, but like I said--I haven't checked in detail.
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Post Apr 28th '13, 05:19

Ok, I've rendered out new sprites with the new hand model and angle tweaking. (I added a bit to the Rifle)

I had assumed that the drum bits on the bottom were for bullets and grenades, like the front drum holds the grenades and the back one holds bullets. I figured that would be the only realistic way that one could hold 52 bullets in a single magazine.

I really need some help on how to actually use a shapes patch with a plugin before I can actually use the AR reload frames (there is a third, but it just involves twiddling around with the switch on the side).

These are just a few frames:
new arm, tweaked the angle some, widened the image
added rims around the lights, and new hand
reloading, frame 3
reloading, frame 2
darkened the scope glass, changed to new hand
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 28th '13, 08:15

Burn down the arm holding the SPNKR and start over.

Post Apr 28th '13, 15:17

Enzan wrote:Burn down the arm holding the SPNKR and start over.

*ahem* Why?

If it is because the frame that I showed depicts it as to long and strait, remember that anything below about 1/4 to 1/3 up from the bottom will be cropped off by the view limits, so it is mainly there to serve as a margin.

If it is the hand portion, I will need some more detailed information before I can make a whole new one.
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General Tacticus

Post Apr 29th '13, 06:51

There's no reason for prerendered sprites to look low-poly. The pistol is nicely smoothed, but the assault rifle is quite blocky. Use more subdivisions when beveling an edge, and experiment with making the bevel tighter. This might seem trivial, but it will go a long way towards making the weapons not look unnaturally sharp-edged.
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Crater Creator

Post Apr 29th '13, 16:12

Crater Creator wrote:the assault rifle is quite blocky.

Ok, I will begin correcting that.

How much more work would you say the hands need on the rest of the weapons?
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General Tacticus

Post May 1st '13, 08:05

Nice improvement.
  • The gauntlet is better (both the structure and the texture), but it's too thin where the armor folds over itself at the jigsaw contour running down the forearm.
  • I would definitely add a plate of armor on the back of the hand.
  • Be mindful of the back of the hand, it's looking too convex, sort of bloated. It should be flatter, perhaps boxier.

Each critique pertains to the image above it.

  • Much better! But the jigsaw contour of the overlapping piece of gauntlet armor changes directions at angles that are too sharp, and the parts of that contour that wrap around the circumference of the forearm are too long.
  • The underside of the gauntlet is looking too convex just below the wrist.
  • Hypothetical: I won't know until I see it in game, but you might need to suggest a bend at the elbow. If so, you might not necessarily need to show the actual bend and the upper part of the arm, but I would definitely build it for your own personal use so you know what the forearm is doing.

  • The plate of armor sticking out at the wrist is too straight and sticks out too far. Once you increase the thickness of the armor there, it might solve part of the issue, but you'll probably have to wrap it tighter around the wrist.
  • The thumb-side of the hand is immensely bloated. Decrease the mass in a way that indicates less swollen anatomy.
  • The forefinger knuckle is too small and lacks a structure indicative of bone (and flesh). Add more mass.
  • The glove color here is different from most of the other frames (too light).

  • The hand is looking pretty good! But the inner arc stretching between the thumb and forefinger is too round, particularly at the thumb. Even though he's holding a round object, it's not going to make that arc perfect. Look at your own hand holding an object with a similar circumference, such as a 2 liter bottle of soda. There are going to be subtle changes in direction in that arc that indicate more realistic anatomy. There might also be a tiny triangle of negative space just under the palm-side of the forefinger's largest knuckle.
  • For the grenade launcher magazine, make sure the top grenade lines up with the lower gun barrel.
  • For the back of the grenade launcher magazine (or the plate covering it), you might use the M32 grenade launcher as reference, rather than keeping the inner heptagonal depression you currently have. I think the outside of your magazine looks good, but a little more real-gun reference for the inner end might help to sell it as a functional piece of weaponry. Even though the designers of the Marathon weapons took creative liberties (certainly excusable given the sci-fi context), there are still bits and pieces of real guns in the weapons. That's part of what gives the Marathon 2 guns a sense of realism even though they're futuristic.
  • Likewise, using an actual drum magazine as reference for the end of the bullet magazine would also help sell it as a working weapon. This might come in handy, although you would probably want to base it on guns that are more contemporary, particularly for the way they load and how the top segment of the magazine is shaped to feed bullets into the gun:
  • You should probably adjust the value of the glove until it pops right for each weapon, or else just mimic the color and value of the original Marathon glove. Right now, it's almost the exact same color and value as the weapon.

  • Looking good, but the gun still looks like it's pointed slightly upward rather than straight ahead.
  • The large knuckle on the thumb is jutting out too far, like it's broken or dislocated. The angle of the part of the hand below the thumb should follow the angle of the thumb (from this perspective). This is because when the thumb moves to widen a grip to hold something, it naturally moves from the base of the hand first -- not from the knuckle.
  • Nice improvement on the glass in the scope. But I would still say it's a bit too mirror-like. You'll probably have to end up constructing the inside of the scope and make the glass both reflective and transparent like actual glass.

Keep at it!
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Ares Ex Machina

Post May 3rd '13, 16:02

Ok, I'm in the process of revising the issues that you pointed out.

-I have been working on the hands some more, reducing the bloated look of the wrist/thumb area, and darkened the glove with the fusion gun.
-I also completely remodeled the bullet and grenade magazines on the rifle, based on the videos posted (with some artistic license, of course)

I will try to post the new renderings within the next few days, give or take.
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General Tacticus

Post May 11th '13, 17:28

Ok, I have completed the revisions, which took a bit longer than expected.

I have tried to attach it to this post, but it is larger than the maximum size, thus I will put it on simplici7y.

I also made some 3d weapon items in my spare spare time

Oh, and yes, the items don't always perfectly match the weapons in hand. Some of the weapons that I used for rendering were either to high-poly or weren't made with multiple views in mind.
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General Tacticus

Post May 11th '13, 21:35

I think something that really needs to change is the magnum. Just in general bulkier and thicker. This might be fixed by making it level, come to think of it, but the first thing that comes to mind with me is how thin it is. I see it as a bit of a powerful weapon, but the thiness and smoothness of this just looks weak to me. So yeah, maybe a bit bulkier, blockier?

Oh, and the left hand when dual wielding isn't mirrored. It's not especially noticable, but using the pistol gives you two right hands.
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Post May 12th '13, 05:53

Wait... what?
The pistol mirrors perfectly when I run it, I don't see how that could possibly be the plugin... what version of M1A1 are you using? I'm not sure if the mechanics of dual wielding are affected by shapes or mml.
As for your post on simplicity regarding the rocket launcher, It might be because of your screen's aspect ratio.

Guys, is anyone else having this problem?
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General Tacticus

Post May 12th '13, 11:01

Checked again, sorry. Got it wrong.
...though... you might want to try flipping the pistol sprite. Sorta looks like your hands are on the wrong sides to me. Like the right hand sorta looks like a left hand. It's the fingers that are off.

If aspect ratio means screen size, I have it set to 1600x900.

Rocket launcher also looks a bit too different. If you look at the original, it has that curving? Yours doesn't have that, it looks more like the rocket launcher from halo.
Sig of the Week:
Most of my suggestions for how to improve a game boil down to "It should be more like Halo."


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